As I write this, I am laying in bed with a cat at my feet and a rye hot toddy by my side. It would be such an image of comfort if it wasn't for the body aches, running nose, and cough. I officially have my first sickness of 2016.
It's kind of appropriate since Monday, January 10th is National Hot Toddy Day. I hate being sick but at least I can find comfort in this boozy comfort cocktail. The hot toddy is like a warm hug when you need it the most.
I chose to make my toddy with rye whiskey. Really you can make a toddy with just about any spirit. Why did I chose rye? Rye is a spicy whiskey with delicious notes of cloves and nutmeg. Bourbon is great but sometimes you want a whiskey that's robust in flavor. In a cocktail where you're already adding sweetness, a spice-filled rye may be a better partner than a sweet bourbon.
I've been all about the rye in the past year. In fact, rye whiskey sales are currently on the rise and gaining strength. If you've been entertaining the idea of learning more about rye whiskey or giving it a try, do it! With so many distillers turning to rye, now could not be a better time.
My advice for trying rye whiskey would be to go in toes first. Start off with a "low" rye whiskey. I consider a "low" rye whiskey to be one that contains 51-70% rye grain. The rest could be made up of corn, barley, wheat, or whatever (but usually it's corn). This way you'll still get that same familiar sweetness you'd find with bourbon. If you're a Manhattan drinker, switch the bourbon out for rye. Give it a shot.